After more than two decades of low productivity growth, the campacity of the American economy to turn inputs of labor and capital into valued products and services soared in the late 1990s. But in order to avoid predicting (what is certain to be true) that the country will have fewer people at work at the end of the current Presidential term than it had at the beginning, the Council of Economic Advisers has issued a forecase implying that, this year, productivity growth with fall to zero. (If the GDP rises by a reasonable amount, and if productivity keeps growing, then not very many jobs will be created.)
Brad DeLong has the details, and some speculation on how it came about that CEA issued a transparently phony set of numbers.
GAO investigation, anyone?